Can anyone guess what the French call 'chewed paper'? Papier-mache of course. Papier-mâché consists of paper bound with either glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.
A few historical facts:
- Papier-mâché has been used to make doll heads from as early as 1540.
- In Egypt, coffins and death masks were made from cartonnage.
- In Persia and Kashmir, boxes, trays and cases were manufactured by using papier-mâché.
- In Europe in 1725, gilded papier-mâché began to appear as a low cost alternative to similarly treated plaster or carved wood in architecture.
- In 1772 Henry Clay of England, came up with a process for treating laminated sheets of paper with linseed oil to produce waterproof panels. In 1847, Theodor Jennens invented a process for steaming and pressing these laminated sheets into different shapes, which then could be used to manufacture trays and chair backs and was usually laid over wood or metal for strength.